What will annoy a liberal audience about Irresistible, Jon Stewart's contemplative return to film, is that it doesn’t play out as the anti-Trump satire that many would expect from the former host of The Today Show.
What’s on offer here is a more rounded view of the current disunited state of America, and how politics and the media are doing little to make that country a better place for the average Yank.
Let’s look at things in a microcosm.
First off, in American politics you’ve got the spin doctors - the expensively-dressed cynics who live in smug isolation and run campaigns based on strategies, analytics and various other marketing tools.
I’m with what Bill Hicks said when it comes to people in marketing.
Then you’ve got the media. American media is pretty much unwatchable, unlistenable, unreadable. It’s largely about taking your prejudices, finding an outlet that conforms to them, and feeling comfortable in your little bubble. It’s feral out there.
Finally, there are the ordinary Americans. Largely people who don’t live in cities such as New York or Los Angeles, or wear MAGA hats. Mostly conservative with the proverbial small 'c’, they just want to get on with their lives like they’ve done in living memory.
These are the three forces that come together in Irresistible, with Steve Carell and Rose Byrne playing either side of the smug Red and Blue strategists, lots of silly TV cameos representing an appallingly amoral media, and Chris Cooper playing the part of Jack Hastings, a retired soldier who runs as a Democrat in a mayoral election in small-town Wisconsin, a Republican heartland.
Taking marks from the likes of Preston Sturges and Frank Capra, Jon Stewart has fun playing with the ‘little folk against the big machine’ trope to create a film that wouldn’t look out of place if transported back to the 1930s. It shows how much things have regressed.
Irresistible is no Wag the Dog, Veep, or anything like that. This is not political satire. It’s a comedy about society.
It’s a look at America as it is: a political system that treats the public with contempt, a media that employs the likes of Tucker Carlson as a confrontational talking head, leaving Joe Sixpack with no option - for better or worse - but to improvise.
America needs an awful lot of fixing right now, and no marketing strategies or feral media’s going to redeem it. That’s up to the people.
Irresistible is available to rent at home on demand from Friday June 26